Lars Hinrich (35) is the founder of HackFwd, a serial entrepreneur, investor, tech geek, and unapologetic optimist.
Lars Hinrichs first logged onto the internet in 1989 with an acoustic coupler and hasn’t logged off since. This early passion for all things digital kick-started his entrepreneurial streak that remains strong today.
One of his first efforts, politik-digital.de, was an award-winning platform for politics and new media he launched at 22. Following that early success, his next venture, a respected new media consulting firm, went bust — but not without first paying rich dividends in learning.
Lars applied those learnings to his third major effort, XING, a highly successful business networking platform. As Founder and CEO, Lars oversaw its 2006 IPO, making XING the world’s first Web 2.0 company to go public. He then successfully steered it for two years post IPO, beating all predicted indices and developing a regrettable taste for high calorie energy drinks. He also became active in investing in — and helping secure funding for — a wide range of tech startups, proving his instinct for great talent and game-changing ideas.
His most recent startup, HackFwd, is an innovative pre-seed investment company that supports Europe’s most passionate geeks in launching the world’s most exciting tech startups. Both Lars and HackFwd have been enthusiastically profiled in Wired, Financial Times, and TechCrunch.
When he’s not working to promote European tech innovation, Lars can be found advising on the Global Leaders of World Economic Forum, the Young Global Leaders, and helping Germany with their digital strategy as part of the UNICEF council.
He also looks back fondly on his ten days of official learning at Harvard Kennedy School – John F. Kennedy School of Government and his countless days of unofficial learning as an enthusiastic TEDster.
And in those welcomed moments when he is offline, Lars enjoys being regularly humbled and awed by his brainy and beautiful wife and their two wonderful children.